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decided: March 25, 1970.


Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Feb. T., 1969, No. 7632, in case of John Coyle et al. v. Port Authority Transit Corporation et al.


John B. Martin, with him Frank L. White, Jr., and Duane, Morris & Heckscher, for appellants.

Leonard M. Sagot, with him Ettinger, Poserina, Silverman, Dubin, Anapol and Sagot, for appellees.

Howard S. Simonoff, for amicus curiae.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts.

Author: Cohen

[ 438 Pa. Page 101]

This is an action instituted by twenty individuals, members of Transport Workers Union, Local 234 (TWU) to require the Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) to recognize and bargain with TWU based on a Memorandum of Agreement dated January 13, 1969. Prior to October, 1968, appellees' employer was the Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC) and its predecessor corporations. The appellees and all other PTC employees similarly situated had as their exclusive bargaining representative, TWU. In October, 1968, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) took over the operation and maintenance of the transit facilities owned and/or operated by PTC and assumed the obligations of the TWU collective bargaining agreement then in effect which was to continue until January 14, 1969. Part of the local mass transit facilities taken over by SEPTA from PTC was the high-speed operation from 16th and Locust Streets in Philadelphia to Camden, New Jersey (the Bridge Line). About 42 SEPTA employees covered by the TWU agreement were directly employed in the operation of the Bridge Line.

Appellant PATCO is a subsidiary corporation of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) which is a bistate agency formed pursuant to 1951-52 Compact Legislation (including enabling legislation) by and between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey and pursuant to an Act of Congress of the United States. In 1963 the two states entered into a Supplemental Agreement to the Compact Agreement which provided, inter alia, that the Commission of the DRPA could form a wholly owned subsidiary corporation to effectuate any of the authorized purposes of DRPA. Pursuant to this Supplemental Compact, PATCO was formed on September 20, 1967, for the purpose of operating the Bridge Line and a

[ 438 Pa. Page 102]

    proposed extension to Lindenwold, New Jersey. Prior to the formation of PATCO, TWU informed DRPA of the seniority, pension representation and other rights of the appellee and further notified DRPA that it was obligated to continue to recognize all such rights when and if it took over the operation of the Bridge Line. Similar notification was given to PATCO upon its formation. On December 27, 1968, one day before DRPA terminated its lease to SEPTA to operate the Bridge Line, TWU and DRPA/PATCO orally agreed, among other things, that TWU was to continue as the exclusive bargaining representative for the hourly employees who were to operate the Bridge Line and its extension.

This oral agreement was reduced to writing on January 13, 1969, and that Memorandum of Understanding states that PATCO recognizes TWU as collective bargaining representatives for its hourly employees and that PATCO will give those SEPTA employees whose jobs were eliminated by the take-over (approximately 42) an opportunity to select comparable employment in PATCO. It also states that the parties agree to meet as soon as possible and work out terms of a contract covering wages, hours, pensions, fringe benefits and working conditions. This action has arisen because it is alleged that PATCO has employed only twelve of the forty-two former SEPTA employees, has refused to recognize TWU as bargaining representatives for PATCO employees, and had refused to negotiate a definitive agreement with TWU. The real basis of the controversy is the struggle between TWU and the Teamsters Local Union No. 676 over which will represent employees on the Bridge Line.

In order to avoid confusion, we list in chronological order the course this litigation has taken.

December 28, 1968 Oral agreement between PATCO and TWU.

January 13, 1969 Oral agreement reduced ...

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